Gun Review: Ruger PC Carbine w/ Aluminum Handguard

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

It was nearly one-and-a-half years ago when I reviewed Ruger’s then-new PC Carbine. The take-down 9mm carbine proved to be an accurate and reliable little gun that’s a lot of fun to shoot. Best of all, it features a interchangeable magazine wells so if Ruger SR-series mags aren’t your jam, you can run GLOCK pistol magazines instead. My only real gripe was with the stock.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Thankfully Ruger has upgraded the . . . oh no, hold on, it appears it’s the handguard they’ve replaced and the semi-grip sporting style plastic stock I’m not fond of remains as-is. C’est la vie.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

But, hey, how about that handguard? It’s a modern, full-length aluminum affair, hardcoat anodized black and adorned with M-LOK slots on the top, bottom, and both sides. Okay so it is pretty cool.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

The PC Carbine’s upgraded handguard looks good, feels really solid, and fits my hand well. It’s certainly better for that Costa C-Clamp Operator grip than the exposed barrel on the base model gun.

Ruger PC Carbine

You can use GLOCK magazines with an additional magazine well (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Though considering how it’s offset under the barrel with the top only just high enough above the barrel to allow for M-LOK accessory attachment, I’m surprised the diameter is as large as it is. I think a skinnier handguard might look better, feel a little better, and weigh less.

Ruger PC Carbine

Ruger’s pistol caliber carbine, now with loads of M-LOK real estate! (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Don’t fret, the barrel shoulder is just proud of the front of the handguard. Any suppressor will attach without issue.

However, should Ruger create a pistol version in the future or should you want to Form 1 yours and chop it down into an SBR, you won’t have the option of running a suppressor underneath the handguard. Which is sad. Though the diameter is large enough, the offset makes it impossible.

Ruger PC Carbine

Easy takedown of the barrel/forend means increased ease of transportation. (Jeremy S. for TTAG_

Takedown functionality is smoothly integrated into the design. The PC Carbine retains zero pretty dang well, but not perfectly.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

For the perfectionists, a section of M-LOK-attach Picatinny rail is included with the $729 PC Carbine with aluminum handguard models and could be used to mount one’s optic to the handguard rather than the receiver. This would ensure perfect zero retention after taking down and re-assembling.

Ruger PC Carbine

The PC Carbine’s rear aperture sight (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Or, sure, just use the very nice iron sights, which are mounted to the chrome-moly steel barrel itself. The rear sight pokes up through the handguard. It’s a ghost ring style sight capable of both elevation and windage adjustment. My sample was right on target.

Ruger PC Carbine

The PC Carbine’s protected blade front sight (Jeremy S. for TTAG)

Likewise, the protected blade front sight sticks up through the aluminum free-float handguard. It isn’t adjustable, but can be swapped for different units should Ruger or the aftermarket offer upgrades.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Other than that, kids, this is exactly the same Ruger PC Carbine we all know and love. And it has proven to be an extremely brisk seller for Ruger. It’s lots of fun and pretty useful as a home defense option, too.

Ruger PC Carbine

Jeremy S. for TTAG

As only the handguard differs on this model (incidentally, it’s 0.2 lbs. heavier for the effort), if you aren’t up on the features and function of this fine firearm, such as the left/right swappable charging handle and reversible magazine release, internal workings, and much more, please read the original review.

While I like the ability to mount more accessories to this model, overall I’m ambivalent between this and the standard version and prefer the aesthetics of the standard model. Show me an aluminum chassis that matches this spiffy handguard and accepts AR grips and then we’ll talk about that fifth star.

Specifications: Ruger PC Carbine

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 17 rounds
Barrel Length: 16.12″
Overall Length: 34.37″
Length of Pull: 12.62″ to 14.12″
Sights: Adjustable ghost ring rear, protected blade front
Barrel Features: threaded 1/2×28, fluted, 1:10″ twist
Receiver: 7075 T6 aluminum, Type III hardcoat anodized
Stock Material: glass-filled nylon synthetic
Handguard: aluminum alloy, hardcoat anodized, Magpul M-LOK compatible
Weight: 7 pounds
MSRP: $729

Ratings (Out of five stars. See original review for more detailed ratings):

Reliability * * * * *

Accuracy * * * * *

Ergonomics * * * *

Customize This * * * *
Improved here versus the original due to all that M-LOK real estate on the aluminum handguard, allowing even more accessories customization. Yet, still shy of five stars due to the stock (fixed grip design, fixed cheek rest) and the fact that a suppressor cannot be run underneath the M-LOK handguard, preventing the use of a shorter barrel without chopping the handguard down as well.

On The Range * * * * *

Overall * * * *
Ultimately, for me this is a five-star gun in a three-star stock.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    I imagine that stock is as it is to avoid having folks in states like CA pissing themselves over ‘evil’ features. We have millions of gun owners here which is a market that sensible gun companies will not ignore. Ruger sells their mini 14 types here at a great profit.

    7 pounds for a 9mm carbine seems a bit much.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      NY as well and suits the wife so Christmas family present pending. As for weight …… yes a bit heavy but best legal option here with a detachable magazine.

    2. avatar Johnny Go Lightly says:

      Exactly ! The author missed the whole point of this carbine. If he wants an AR in 9mm then go get one. With 40 million ppl in Kali and 20 million in NY just these two states represent a huge market. Ruger knew what they were doing when they introduced it in the original kit.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        I get it. It’s featureless and that’s nice for states that ban pistol grips and telescoping stocks and all that jazz. But the stock is cheap and crappy and the ergos are lacking. In fact, I might even call it a 5-star gun in a 3-star stock. And now it’s a cheap plastic stock that doesn’t align visually with the anodized aluminum handguard. At least previously the front and rear matched and it looked like a complete product. Now it looks like John A. GunOwner bought the thing and went to Pep Boys and upgraded only half of it 😉

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          So sad snowflake?

        2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          That’s racist.

    3. avatar Madcapp says:

      Tactical Solutions needs to make a 16″ and 9″ barrel for that, and Kidd needs to make some trigger groups to fit as well. With that new Copper Custom chassis coming out, this might be the PCC/PDW to have, beating out the Scorpion, the GHM-9, and that boat anchor heavy AKV-9 from Palmetto.

      1. avatar st381183 says:

        Uhhhh…..no…..while the Ruger is a nice PCC the Scorpion, Stribog, B&T offerings, and even the AR9 are still going to be top dogs in the market place.

        1. avatar LibertyToad says:

          Agree 100%. I like my Rugers, but there is no way I’d buy the Ruger PCC over my Scorpion. The Scorpion costs a lot more, however, but looks a lot better. But if you can’t/don’t want to spend the money for the Ruger, I’d consider one as long as it has this handguard.

      2. avatar Freddy Ruger says:

        “Tactical Solutions needs to make a 16″ and 9″ barrel for that, and Kidd needs to make some trigger groups to fit as well”

        Ruger just needs to make the rifle better. What is the point of buying something you have to start replacing components on first thing. After you replace the barrel, stock, trigger and bolt groups, what is there left of your original purchase. Your better off going custom at that point. Ruger knows people are going to do this regardless, they learned that with their 10-22. The 10-22 was once a solid plinker that could be handed down. Now it is a plastic piece of crap because Ruger knows people are going to stuff it full of aftermarket anyway. It is all about volume and profit margin and this gun is just another exercise in that.

    4. avatar Righty Armstrong says:

      [ 7 pounds for a 9mm carbine seems a bit much ]

      Plastic, lots of it. Heavier than steel for any given strength requirement. But why not, if you can save 10 cents over a steel part. Ten cents adds up to $100,00 over a million units.
      Nice little profit.

    5. avatar Vernon brumley says:

      Can anyone tell me where I can purchase a upper receiver and barrel for my ruger 9mm carbine, in Barrett brown cerakote? Thank you

  2. avatar Juice says:

    How would it look with an offset can, like an Osprey?

  3. avatar Hoddy Snitch says:

    I think the original is a great range rifle. I like that it came with the spacers to add length to the butt stock. While I like the Beretta CX-4 too, the spacers are extra.

  4. avatar Mike V says:

    It very slightly resembles a ppsh to me.

    1. avatar Madcapp says:

      Its the way Rugers handguard is cut. There’s already a good-humored video on the resemblance to the PPSH…
      https://youtu.be/dzG5nBsTa4E

    2. avatar daveinwyo says:

      My very first thought!

    3. avatar chef says:

      my thoughts too… the ppsh look it pretty cool. however I’ve shot one of these guns, standard version. I’ve also shot a lot of other PCC’s, the ruger is the only one robust enough to butt stroke something if needed. And it runs, really well. The rest are range toys. iron sights, rail for an optic and one for a light, out of the box adjustable stock. The mlok forearm is cool, but it “fixes” a non existent problem. The ability to hang more crap on it isn’t gonna make you shoot it better.

  5. avatar RA-15 says:

    Parker Mountain Machine also makes a real nice MLOK handguard for the pc , it leaves room for a can , Mlok slots at the 3-6-&9:00 positions. I prefer it to Ruger’s personally. Cost is $150.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Neat and noted for later. Has there been any word on less common caliber conversions?

  6. avatar TomC says:

    I’m not sure which is find sillier: Ruger for building a perfectly useful PCC that doesn’t give the liberals heart attacks then turning around to offer a completely useless mall ninja tactikool handguard on it, or our author who thinks it makes the gun cool looking (while not-so-secretly lamenting that they didn’t also inflict it with that awful ‘collapsible’ AR stock).

    In most situations, I question the value of a PCC today, but I recognize that there are situations where a PCC could make sense — but adding purely cosmetic features that accomplish nothing other than to make the gun non-compliant in some jurisdictions simply does not make any sense.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Never did I suggest it should have an AR stock on it. Nor did I say that the handguard makes the gun cool looking — I said the handguard looks cool, then went on to say I like the aesthetics of the original version better and that this one would look better if it had an aluminum chassis so it would balance front and rear. With some improvement to your reading comprehension you might avoid arguing with things people never said haha

    2. avatar neiowa says:

      So FUDDs hate aluminum and M-LOK? I thought it was just black poly.

  7. avatar DCJ says:

    The original version is a homely girl who is a good dancer. This version, while not cover girl material, is not coyote ugly either. I bought one right away and it is all a good improvement.

  8. avatar Moid62 says:

    Is it just me or does that handguard make it look kinda like a PPSH 41?

    1. avatar chef says:

      if only glock had a 7.62×25 mag (and a pistol too for that matter) and then one of these PCC in that caliber….

  9. avatar barnbwt says:

    Optic mounting on a float tube is not going to guarantee good accuracy, as the tube & barrel can flex/warp independently during both handling and heating. Likely a lot more variation than you’d see from a takedown/reassembly cycle.

    Needs to come with a Glock drum-mag to complete the PPSH41 look.

  10. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Ive had my PC40 since the mid 90s. Other then a bit of cosmetics and the takedown. The new and old guns are basically the same. What I do wish I had from the newer gun is the barrel shroud. That is a welcome addition. The stock still sucks on both models.

  11. avatar Tokamak says:

    Standby…I predict an integrally suppressed barrel fitting under that handguard in the near future.
    Already on the 10-22.

  12. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    I will take one in 357 maximum.

  13. avatar billrla says:

    Asking for a friend in California: PC Carbine versus Mini-14? All factors worth considering.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Both! Dream big, don’t limit yourself 🙂

  14. avatar daveinwyo says:

    As much as I love and own Rugers (and Ruger stock) I’m not a fan of this weapon.
    Although the take-down feature is cool, I just can’t get into this one.
    For the price I can own all 3 calibers of the Hi-Point PCC. I already have one in 9mm and that is more than enough fugly for my gun safe.
    I do get the sales in un-free states though, good for my bottom line.

  15. avatar enuf says:

    The additional cost and weight do not excite me and I’d prefer this one in a wood stock anyway. Still, I like the gun and as I own an SR9 I’ve already a dozen magazines to fit it. So that’s a plus.

    More than that, this gun needs a drum magazine. A big dependable drum so you can load it on Sunday and shoot Zombies all week long.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      Modern day Tommy gun.

  16. avatar CarlosT says:

    I would dig one in .45.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      357 sign and 10mm come to mind as well.

  17. avatar WI Patriot says:

    Lipstick on a pig…???
    What ever happened to K.I.S.S….???

  18. avatar LibertyToad says:

    It sure looks a lot better than the older one. Still, I’ll keep my CZ Scorpion carbine. I will mention that I have a couple of Rugers and I love them both. They build some good stuff.

  19. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    The sport stock is one of the best things about the carbine. It allows a natural cheek weld. 100x better than the abortion of the AR platform. Just a shame the PC9 doesn’t come with a wood stock.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      It’s too skinny at top, it looks and feels too cheap, and the grip angle doesn’t work for the size or shape of the gun or the drop at comb, etc. The also cheap Monte Carlo-style stock on the Fightlite SCR, for example, feels natural and comfortable and just “clicks” like a sporting style bolt action rifle that was designed for such a stock, but the ergos on this PC Carbine one are off for me.

  20. avatar Okie Dokie says:

    Does anyone know if you can buy just the barrel separately?

  21. avatar EML says:

    I am seriously think about this gun as a first gun for my 11 year old son instead of a .22, so he can grow into it alittle, i have heard that because it is alittle heavier the recoil is similar to a .22. And the ergos are similar to the 10/22 takedown. His mother has been resisting me buying him a gun or i would have years ago. But he is old enough to have his own now instead of using mine. Pretty sure he is getting a cool gift from dad on fathers day instead of dad getting a tie. Lol

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Now that would be a cool first gun. (Excuse me…gunm. Don’t want Possum getting all meat-cleavery on me.)

      Maybe a bit on the heavy side for a kid, but maybe not. And a 7 lb. rifle in 9mm is going to be pretty tame recoil-wise and super easy to feed, if not quite as cheaply as a .22. And so…much…fun…

      Now I REALLY want one. Can I be your long-lost son for a few weeks? (Never mind that I’m probably 15 yrs older than you…just be open to the magic.) 🙂

    2. avatar LibertyToad says:

      I think a PCC would make a good first rifle for a teen. Easy to shoot and 9mm is pretty cheap to shoot.

  22. avatar Just Sayin says:

    Dying to know if the .40 cal front will swap onto the 9mm rear.
    Anyone?
    Bueller? … Bueller?…

    And when are they gonna drop a 10mm PCC for gods sakes ??

    Ruger you should be smart and start selling swappable caliber change fore ends.
    (Just like when you started selling complete AR556 uppers.)

    1. avatar Tom Tindall says:

      Hi Point 1095ts. I don’t own a Hi Point Carbine, but everyone I know who does loves it.

  23. avatar Brian says:

    I am waiting on the 45acp version. Then I will buy 2.

  24. avatar GS650G says:

    When Ruger comes out with caliber change kits for the PCC the game will be changed. Sure, the kits will cost a lot but the idea of changing pill sizes in a matter of minutes is a good one. This has to be on the horizon. I’m not an expert but I can’t see problems beyond barrel, mag well, and re coil mechanism preventing an .45 version.

  25. avatar gary moore says:

    For years Ruger made a 44 mag semi auto great deer gun under a 100 yards. Some asshole stole mine. If this was a 44 mag I would run to get one, however see no real reason for a 9 mm rifle.

    1. avatar Dave G. says:

      I sold my Ruger .44 magnum carbine a long time ago. It is the only gun I have ever had regrets about selling, especially since they stopped making them. Nutz!

  26. avatar Jim from LI says:

    I’d like to see it with a Magpul Hunter stock. Would still qualify as a “not a pistol grip” configuration for Kali and NY.

    1. avatar LibertyToad says:

      Yeah, those are great stocks—I have one on my Ruger .22 carbine. It’s a huge improvement over the stock configuration.

  27. avatar Richard Hertz says:

    That gun is beyond fugly.

  28. avatar Wild Bill says:

    If you want a PCC this is pretty nice. But I’ll stick with my AR 15 and the 10.5″ pistol I am waiting on the upper for.

  29. avatar Mr. Hayney says:

    I got one of these because I had an old PC I wanted to get rid of. I took them both out to the woods and peppered the hell out of the Bill Gates box. The gun worked ok but I recommend that if you got an old PC to destroy then you best to use a shotgun.
    Personally I think that computer killing is an over played market and don’t see why Ruger decided to make a gun for it.

  30. avatar BJI says:

    Why a 9 mm? Easier to shoot accurately for home defense than a handgun AND 200-300 fps (my guess) higher velocity than a handgun.

  31. avatar Wood says:

    We need a Sig P365 mag well for it!

  32. avatar ozzallos says:

    SEVEN POUNDS

    Why? Why would you do that? That’s a full-up AR right there. At that point I might as well just take the pin out of the lower receiver and call it a “take down” AR. I’m sure its well made being a Ruger, but… Full disclosure, I own a Sub2000 which I full admit is little more than two pipes on a hinge, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is for a reasonable price point. I even built an 8in 300blk for roughly (less) than the same price. But if 7lbs is your idea of a take down back packing rifle, more power to you. But the 9mm straight blowback market is overpriced and frankly, ridiculous in most cases.

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